New US Dietary Guidelines Ineffective for Diabetes Prevention

Diabetes is a metabolic disease in which there are high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period. Type 2 diabetes, usually thought of as adult onset, appears to be caused in part by a carbohydrate rich diet and associated weight gain. Long-term complications include cardiovascular disease, stroke, chronic kidney failure, foot ulcers, and damage to the eyes, and reduced life expectancy.

Prediabetes (which is really an early stage of diabetes) is reversible. How do you know if you have prediabetes? – a fasting blood sugar of 100 – 125 or HgA1c of 5.7-6.4. How do you know if you have diabetes? – a fasting blood sugar of 126 plus, and a HgA1c of 6.5 plus.

The stats:

86 million people in the United States have prediabetes—and 9 out of 10 of them do not know they have it.

Recent studies suggest that 1 out of 3 people over the age of 18, and half of people over age 65, have prediabetes.

Without lifestyle changes to improve their health, 15%-30% of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years

Proper dietary intervention for prediabetes requires strict carbohydrate and dietary glycemic index reduction.

The new US Dietary Guidelines below are so vague with respect to food group components and over inclusive of high glycemic index carbohydrates as to make them completely useless for the prevention of diabetes.

The key recommendations of the new US guidelines are outlined below.

Key Recommendations of US Guidelines

Consume a healthy eating pattern that accounts for all foods and beverages within an appropriate calorie level. A healthy eating pattern includes:

A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups - dark gree, red, orange,, legumes, starchy and other

Fruits, especially whole fruits

Grains, at least half of which are whole grains

Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages

A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds, and soy products


Limit saturated fats and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium

These recommendations don’t specify percentages of protein, carbohydrates, and fats in the diet, and include they starchy vegetables, white flour products, and some added sugars.

There are diets that work to reverse prediabetes including Paleo, Atkins, Zone using low glycemic index carbohydrates, forms of low carb of gluten free diets, and some of the other copycat programs.

Why would the US Dietary Guidelines not be consistent with a strategy to prevent this coming epidemic? I can only speculate.

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